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WCUBassBone1's avatar

Why does my best friend think about killing himself?

Asked by WCUBassBone1 (166points) January 28th, 2010

I mean, I’ve thought about what life would be like if I didn’t exist, but it’s more in the curious “what if” state of mind. My best friend has thought about it more than I have, and I’ve been really worried about him lately. He’s finally getting help with it, but I just don’t know why he thinks like this. It’s scary, and I just wish I could understand why he would think so little of himself.

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12 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

well, personally if i was going to kill my self you would just walk in to find a corpse one day. i would seriously doubt he would go through with it if he is talking about it.

other than that i cant really say much more.

Peinrikudo's avatar

I agree with poisonedantidote, but then again, some people actually do go through with it after talking about it for so long.

In the end, it could all just be a cry for help, which it usually is. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be ignored, and the best thing you can do for your best friend is just be supportive, but in the unfortunate scenario that he does kill himself, it will just leave all the closest people to him feeling hurt and guilty. Either way, it’s kind of a crappy spot to be in. =/

YARNLADY's avatar

He cannot see an option that offers an acceptable alternative.

bigboss's avatar

or he just wants attention.

wundayatta's avatar

This is really long, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find it worth it to read it all—if you really want to understand.

He’s depressed. As you get further and further into depression, it hurts more and more. You can’t possibly imagine what it’s like if you’ve never been there. You never would say the kind of cruel (although well-meaning, I’m sure) thing like @bigboss just wrote if you had any understanding at all of what it is like. Attention is incredibly important. It should not be a matter that anyone could toss off with “just.”

Of course he wants attention. The problem is that he will deny it and push it away if he is really depressed. Of course it is a cry for help. When you feel that bad, you are totally desperate to get rid of the pain. It is not tolerable. And when you come to believe the pain will never end—that’s when you get really serious about suicide, because it seems like that’s the only thing that will make the pain go away.

Look. When I was depressed, it was extraordinarily bleak. I felt horrible about myself. I knew I was bad for everyone and everyone would be better off without me. I didn’t understand why people didn’t see it that way. How come they couldn’t see how worthless I was? How come they couldn’t see how I was dragging all their lives down with me?

My wife told me I was bad for the kids. She thought it would encourage me to stay alive for them. Instead it made me feel worse—it gave me more reason to die. My friends didn’t talk to me or email me or text me or nothing. Clearly they knew I was worthless. My family couldn’t care less. They didn’t even believe in depression. They would have told me to just snap out of it.

And that was another thing. How come I didn’t just snap out of it? Surely I could if I wanted to? But I didn’t. That must mean I didn’t want to, and anyone who doesn’t want to snap out of depression must be a complete and utter loser who didn’t deserve anything good in life; who didn’t even deserve life.

So the more people tried to help me, the more I pushed them away. And yet—I didn’t really want to die. I just wanted the pain to stop.

Here’s the thing. In a way, the pushing away is a test. You say you love me, but how can I possibly believe that? The only way I can think of is that if I push you away with all my might and you still stay there, then maybe it is possible that you could love me.

For me, being depressed was about being so dreadfully lonely, and so dreadfully unlovable, and so dreadfully unloved. I simply could not feel the love of believe in that love. But love was what I wanted more than anything. Appreciation was what I wanted as much as love. I wanted to know there was a place for me here. That people wanted me.

The problem is that people can’t just say they want me. They have to prove it. They have to offer convincing reasons—detailed reasons to show me their love was true. And, of course, that’s an impossible standard. Yet—when people tried—it did make a difference. Every effort to give me attention and to give me love mattered no matter how much I pushed it away or didn’t believe it.

So I believe that every effort to think about or commit suicide is a cry for help. Like you would cry for help is you broke both legs and both arms and had a knife wound in your gut. You’d know you were a goner, but you’d still hope somehow someone could stop the pain before you died.

And every effort towards suicide is a cry for attention. For the same reason. If you can’t help yourself because you can’t move a limb and your lifeblood is flowing out, you need someone to pay attention to you or else you will surely die.

Of course, none of this makes sense to mundane people. They’ve never experience anything except a little blueness that they can pull themselves out of with a little willpower and a little encouragement. No one can possibly imagine this until they’ve been there. I know I couldn’t. I didn’t believe it before. I was one of the ones who believed in “snap out of it.” Hell, I still believe it—because of all the messages I’ve ever heard about it all my life.

So be there for your friend. Ask him to do things. Try your hardest to get him to do it with you. He will say no a lot. He will want to hide at home. Call him. If he doesn’t answer, leave messages for him. He may delete those messages without listening, or delete emails without reading them, but it doesn’t matter. At least it shows you still think of him.

Do not take his rejection personally. It isn’t about you. It’s about everyone. It’s about pain and lack of self-worth and lack of lovability.

Just be there, as much as you can. Stick with it. It makes a difference. It shows him that maybe he isn’t isolated and hated. You say he’s getting help. I assume that means seeing a psychiatrist who can prescribe drugs that might help him and seeing a therapist who can help him learn to see the world more realistically. If he isn’t doing these things, then he should consider it, because it could really help him.

You’re a good friend. Hang in there.

WCUBassBone1's avatar

@wundayatta This is by far the most helpful thing I have ever heard, and not just for this particular situation either. Thanks for that.

wundayatta's avatar

You’re welcome!

Sophief's avatar

He’s depressed, depressed people don’t feel any self worth, they can’t see life get any better, death seems like the new life.

TheJoker's avatar

There is something in your friends life that has made them deeply unhappy. So much so that they are unable to see anyway of things getting better in the future. & for whatever reason they have decided, or are unable to tell you what this ‘thing’ is. All you can do is to be there, support them, dont be judgemental or make them feel like there’s something wrong with them. If they decide to disclose to you the reason why, then you’ll have to deal with it then.

marinelife's avatar

@wundayatta Great summation of the state of a seriously depressed person!

zander101's avatar

Suicide is never an easy subject it’s a controversial one where your going have several opinions concerning it whether it’s positive or negative. For me personally, suicide is not only a cry for help it’s a predicted decision and whether or not it is pursued is a touchy matter. I can only imagine the feelings that it has caused you and in retrospect his own feelings as well. What most people don’t understand is that it’s not a overnight decision, it’s a process to get to that state of mind, and being a friend at this very tough time is all you can really do. Don’t judge him and don’t listen to those who don’t understand, people can be cruel and until they are directly or indirectly involved in a matter similar, their opinion quite frankly has no value. Your friend has convinced himself like mentioned that he should be non-existent, it’s a process, probably stemmed from when he was a child and only has strengthened with time, it’s not easy to have feelings like that and it’s not easy to admit feelings like that. As long as your present in his life, he will move on and your relationship will be solidified and it’s amazing to have a solid relationship because in this day and age you never know when you will need help future wise.

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